Re: more on aquatic eleph

Phillip Bigelow (
20 Nov 1995 19:39:33 -0800

> (J. Moore) wrote:
>>So we find that tusks are only found in either terrestrial,
>>aquatic, or swamp-dwelling mammals. wrote:
>Why do elephants have tusks then, jim?

Jim may have a different interpretation on this, but the dominant use of
tusks in Recent Elephantidae is to assist the trunk in procuring food. The
two parts work together to:
1) Strip bark off of trees.
2) Rooting around in the soil (also used to dig holes for water during
the dry season.).
3) Pushing aside tree limbs so that the trunk can pluck green foliage.
4) The tusks also hold a auxiliary role in sexual selection. The larger
the male tusks, the more intimidating and genetically-healthy the male is
assumed to be. This is roughly analogous to antlers on the cervidae.

The same question can be asked about another fully terrestrial animal, the
tusked warthog, which, curiously, is a savannah animal.